Be ‘brilliantly useful’ like Joseph Joesph

An eye-catching display of Joseph Joseph products caught my eye on a recent shopping trip. Joseph Joseph was founded by twins Richard and Antony Joseph in 2003 with the ambition ‘to be the world’s leading kitchenware brand’. They trade in 104 countries with 80% of its £36m in sales coming from exports and grew by over 15% in the last year I could find data for (2013/14). Below I look at and how this innovative company have built their brand and business

1. Identify your core

It was fascinating to learn how the Joseph brothers identified their core business in an interview here.  The brand’s first four products were a chopping board, serving dish, mug and clock. Of these, three of them were flops, but the chopping board was a hit. “So we stopped doing clocks and mugs,” recalls Richard. “We said, let’s just be great at one thing. Let’s be really innovative, really clever with the design, make them better than the competition and grow the business based on that.” Since then the brand has stretched from the chopping board to offer a broad range of products, but all of them are focused on the kitchen, whether it be cleaning, storage or cooking.

2. Design products to make life better

Joseph Joseph have built their brand by doing what every brand should do in some way: simply make everyday life a little better. Each product is beautifully and cleverly designed to solve a problem in the kitchen. “We don’t make the whimsical, gifty kitchen gadgets which go in a drawer. We try to cover both form and function,” says Richard in this article. This is summed up nicely on the brand’s website with the phrase ‘brilliantly useful design’.

For example, at home we have the draining board which can expand depending on the space you have. The ‘nest’ of plastic bowls and spoons is neat, attractive and space-saving. The set of plastic chopping boards has useful tabs, like a filing cabinet, to make finding the right board easier. And the soap pump can be easily operated with the back of one hand, helping keep the top of the pump head cleaner and more hygienic (see video below).

3. Add some personality

The Joseph Joseph brand is built above all on performance: they have a great product ‘sausage’. But the brand also has a distinctive personality: colourful, friendly and fun. This helps the brand stand out from the busy crowd of other kitchenware brands on shelf and online. It also adds to the daily enjoyment of using what could otherwise be mundane objects.

4. Drive distribution 

Most of the brand’s sales are through other retailers. But the brothers are also smartly developing their own route to the consumer via their website and mobile app. A recent revamp of their ecommerce offer has driven a 45% increase in website revenue, with a 20% growth in unique users, and even more impressive result in mobile sales, up 71%, according to this article.

In conclusion, Joseph Joseph is a lovely example of how to build a brand based on a brilliantly designed product delivered with a distinctive personality. The perfect combination of product ‘sausage’ and emotional ‘sizzle’ you would expect from a brand that lives in the kitchen!